Make your bread basket more exciting with homemade garlic herb pretzels. They are inexpensive at less than a dollar a dozen and so very tasty!
Oh my word. I make pretzels a few times a year. With each bite, I think to myself, “Why don’t I make these more often?” These are so delicious, fun to make, and make you feel so accomplished when you pull them from the oven.
And did I mention how cheap they are to make? The flour is the bulk of the expense: 4 cups, which when on sale, equals about 50 cents. Add in some yeast, salt, herbs, and baking soda, and your cost is easily under a buck a dozen. Compare that to your shopping mall soft pretzel!
Want to learn how? Let me show you!
I’ve played with my standard pretzel recipe before, adding different toppings and dipping sauces. This time, I worked from the inside out, adding flavor in the form of garlic powder and dried herbs. I see all kinds of potential for rolls, hot dog buns, and pigs in blankets. The chewy crust is amazing.
I also used white whole wheat this time, instead of regular grind whole wheat and unbleached flour instead of bread flour. I liked the texture and flavor of the bread immensely.
These make a fun addition to your dinnertime bread basket. So, bust out the bread machine or warm up your hands for kneading, and go make a batch.
Once the dough was ready, my girls loved helping me shape the pretzels. Roll the dough into long snakes, and with a few flicks of the wrist, you can twist the dough into a traditional pretzel shape.
Lore says that pretzels were an early Easter tradition and that bakers created them to resemble praying hands. They were also used to hold hard boiled eggs in the “holes”, thus taking their place in history as the first Easter baskets.
Once the pretzels are shaped, you’ll need to give them a soda water bath. This starts the rising process again and gives them their nice chewy texture.
Yes, it seems like a lot of steps, but it’s fun and tasty, totally worth it.
After the bath, you can sprinkle the pretzels with seeds and coarse salt. Then pop them in the oven to bake.
How to make this good and cheap:
Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:
- Bake it yourself from scratch – Don’t buy mixes. Don’t buy pricey bakery bread. You can make your own better and cheaper at home!
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. When I find regular kitchen staples on sale, I buy a lot. I’m currently using a price book to track prices and that’s saving me money. For this recipe, keeping an eye on the price of flour can help keep the price down.
- Buying in bulk – It’s rare that I would buy one bag of flour. I usually stock up when there are good baking sales. I also have gotten into the habit of buying cases of flour from Bob’s Red Mill.
How I make this recipe easy:
This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.
Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:
- a bread machine or a stand mixer – I love these machines for easier dough making.
- a bench knife – Great for cutting dough in pieces easily
- sheet pans – I LOVE my set of steel sheet pans. They make such a difference in baking.
- parchment paper – I don’t love washing dishes, so parchment paper is that small indulgence that makes it easy for me to cook more often.
- 5-quart pot with lid – I have this one. It’s perfect for cooking chili or a big pot of rice or boiling pretzels.
Garlic Herb Pretzels
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp dry parsley flakes
- 8 cup water
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- coarse salt can also include poppy seeds and sesame seeds for sprinkling
- In the pan of a bread machine, assemble the 1/2 cup water, milk, honey, flours, salt, and yeast. Set the machine on dough. When the cycle ends, remove the dough to a lightly oiled surface.
- If you don’t have a bread machine, this recipe is still delicious! Warm the water and milk slightly and combine it with the honey and yeast. Let that rest for 5 minutes. Then add the flours, salt, garlic powder, and dried herbs. Stir until you have a sticky dough but all the flour is incorporated. Turn it onto a floured surface and knead until the dough becomes elastic. Set into a greased bowl and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450°. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a long snake, about 18 inches long. Shape the snake into a horseshoe. Twist the sides of the horseshoe, about halfway up, around each other twice. Flip the ends over onto the U of the horseshoe. Press to seal. Continue until all the pretzels are shaped.
- Meanwhile, bring the 8 cups water to a boil in a large stockpot. Add the baking soda and continue to boil. Drop the formed pretzels, one at a time into the soda bath. Boil for about 30 seconds and remove to the prepared parchment. Sprinkle with coarse salt, poppy seeds and sesame seeds.
- Once all the pretzels have been “bathed,” bake them for 9 to 10 minutes or until golden. Remove them to a rack to cool.
Not only are these pretzels fun for snacking or adding as a side dish to dinner, I made them the bread of our lunch this week. Served with cheese, turkey, and spicy brown mustard, it made a fabulous open-faced sandwich/snacky lunch.
Originally published March 29, 2013. Updated September 30, 2017.